黑马 DARK HORSE
“A dark horse,” is one that shows unexpected racing speed and comes in first, even though the experts said he had little chance of winning.
In politics, an unknown candidate for office who wins a nomination or election is called “a dark horse.”
British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is believed to have been the first to use the phrase .In his novel, “The Young Duke,” published in 1831,Disraeli described a horse race and tells how the two top choices fell behind , while “a dark horse which never had been thought of rushed past the grandstand in a sweeping triumph.”
From racing to politics was a short step. As a political phrase,” dark horse” appeared for the first time in the national democratic Party convention of 1844.The “dark horse ”was James Knox Polk, who became the 11th President of the United States.
Polk had been the leader of the House of Representatives from 1835 to 1839. He had also been Governor of the state of Tennessee. But as a national leader, he was considered a political nobody.
Nevertheless, he surprisingly won the Democratic nomination and was elected President. This is what happened:
Martin Van Buren of New York ,a former President, seemed sure of getting the nomination. But he opposed making the territory of Texas part of the United States, as another state. He was against it because there was slavery in Texas. Van Buren did not want another slave state in Union. As a result , he lost support among those Democrats who supported slavery.
At the 1844 convention, Van Buren could not get enough votes to win the nomination. The convention was deadlocked. Therefore ,the Democratic leaders decided that the only wise thing would be to run a “ dark horse,” a man who could unite the party.
And so , one of the party leaders ,George Bancroft, proposed the name of James Knox Polk. He won , and the party united behind him. And he defeated his opponent ,Henry Clay of the Whig Party.
After the 1844 convention, the “dark horse ”candidate became an established fact of national political life .
One historian said,” The invention of the dark horse was in itself a remarkable product of our professional politics.” This made it possible for party leaders to choose candidates who were not tied to certain ideas. Therefore , they represented nothing and had developed few enemies.
Abraham Lincoln was a “dark horse.” He came to the Republican Party convention in 1860 as a little-known politician. The party bosses chose Lincoln as a compromise candidate simply because they had no other “dark horse” to choose .The rest is history.
Every four years, as both the Republican and Democratic Parties begin their national conventions, there is the possibility of surprises. Sometimes, the choices for the nomination are clearly established before the conventions open. But one cannot always be sure. The chance of some “ dark horse ” coming out of nowhere and running off with the top prize makes some of the leading candidates nervous.
另一种颜色的马 HORSE OF ANOTHER COLOR
One cannot forget the final scene of Shakespeare’s Richard the Third. The king is fighting for his life on Bosworth field .His horse is gone and he must fight on foot. He keeps calling for a horse, ready to offer his crown for one. “A horse ! A horse! ”the king cries out ,”My kingdom for a horse!” But there is no horse to be had , only “a horse of a different color,” a “pale horse ” whose rider is Death.
The phrase , “a horse of a different color,”-or “a horse of another color”-goes back to hundreds of years before Shakespeare, but it is still part of today’s living speech.
At its beginning, the phrase meant exactly what it said, a horse of a different color. At the time ,horses competed in jousts and other contests under the color of different knights. And a rider whose horse failed to win of course lost to a horse of another color .
But in time the meaning of the phrase became broader. Today, when you say ,”That’s a horse of another color.” You mean that an entirely new situation has arisen and you must consider the change before making a decision.
For example ,a man wants to buy your house and offers you a certain price .You feel the price is right and accept it .But then the man says ,”I will pay a small part of it now ,in cash ,and will pay the remainder over the next five years.”
Most likely ,your answer will be ,”Oh !That is a horse of another color.” and you will break off the negotiations.
Nobody knows exactly when the horse was tamed and trained to serve man. Five or six thousand years ago, men of the Bronze. Age rode on the backs of horse .And horse racing was known in Egypt almost 4000 years ago. The Greeks raced horses and so did the ancient Romans, with horses pulling chariots. In England in the 1100’s horse racing became “the sport of kings.” Today ,the phrase is still used to describe horse racing.
From England and the horse we also got one of the most widely used words today –“hobby.” A hobby long ago simply was a horse .In the words of one writer of the early 1600’s ,”Is not my master an absolute villain that loves his hawk ,his hobby and his greyhound more than any mortal creature?”
Later, what a man like to do best for his own fun and pleasure was called his hobby . The hobbies of men are as different as the men themselves. Some like music and books . Many like tennis and other sports. Some are especially interested in politics or the theater. There is no end to the hobbies of men . Many universities want to know the hobbies of those who wish to go there before accepting them. This is also true of companies that are ready to give someone a job. They feel rightly so , that a man’s hobbies tell a great deal about his character and personality.
骑高头大马 ON HIS HIGH HORSE
We all know the power, speed and beauty of the horse made him a creature of legend . We are told , for example, that once there were seven men who competed for the throne of Persia. They agreed that the man whose horse neighed first should become king. The crown was given to him and he became one of the most famous of Persia’s ancient kings.
For a long time ,only the upper classes had horses . Some of high rank rode on big ,heavy horses in the king’s parades.
This gave birth to the expression, ” to ride the high others , ” meaning trying to show that one is above others , too good for them. And to tell one “to get off his high horse ” still means that he is no better than others and should stop acting as if he were .
When the Spanish explorers and conquerors first brought the horse to the American continent in the 1500’s , the creature carried on its back a wealth of special expressions , such as “ to look a gift horse in the mouth”
This describes a man who has the poor taste to examine a gift to see if anything is wrong with it . And the best way to tell the age of a horse is to open its mouth and examine its teeth.
This ,too ,is how we got the phrase ,” straight from the horse’s mouth.” It means something that comes directly from the top ,the highest authority. A report, information or advice “straight from the horse’s mouth ” need not be questioned.
The phrase ,” a stalking horse,” comes from ancient hunters who tried to get close to a wild animal by hiding behind or alongside of their horses. Later ,the expression was used in a general sense to describe anything used to hide a secret plan.
The phrase moved into politics, in election campaigns where one of two candidates puts a third into the race ,for the purpose of drawing away support from the stronger vote -getter. Such a third candidate is called a “stalking horse ,” because he was just a cover for the real candidate.
There came a time when the horse was put to work on the faum to do the hard ,dirty tasks of the ox and mule. This was a sad come-down, which can be seen in the less poetic, more down-to-earth phrases that began to grow around the horse’s new use .”Don’t flog a dead horse” show how the creature had fallen on bad days. It means that there is no sense in beating a horse that has died. This phrase is now used in the broadest sense. It means that if an issue or something is gone ,no longer alive , then if an issue or something is gone , no longer alive ,then it makes no sense to remain interested in it .
The horse has given us many other expressions:” putting the cart before the horse”-that is ,beginning at the wrong end .And ,”Hold your horses ”-take it easy, don’t lose your temper. Here are others:” Don’t change horses in the middle of the river ”- it is too dangerous:” the horse –and –buggy age ”-a bygone period;” a one –horse town ”-too small a place to even notice;” horse opera” – a cowboy movie .Their number is considerable.